By Sherry Henson, Converse II
Staring out the window of his elementary school classroom, Professor Mayo Mac Boggs would watch the paddle wheelers pushing barges up and down the Ohio River. The paddle wheelers had signs on the front and back telling what city they were going to and what city they were coming from. He would try to envision what it was like that very moment in both cities. “And in my mind, connecting those two places was so much more exciting than anything else you could do,” says Professor Boggs, Professor of Art & Design as well as the Chair of the Art Department at Converse College. When the terrible events of September 11th occurred, it was a “natural response” for him to create art that could somehow connect people from all over the world to New York and to each other. This idea formulated into Professor Boggs’ proposal for a World Trade Center Memorial entitled The Halo Project.
After The Halo Project was featured on a Website devoted to artists’ responses to the September 11th attacks, Professor Pasquale Celona, President of the “International Biennial of Contemporary Art,” contacted Professor Boggs and invited him to represent the U.S.A at the fourth edition of the exhibition. The event will take place December 6th -14th of 2003 in Florence, Italy. Approximately 600 artist from over 50 countries will present their work. Though the exhibition does not usually have a specific theme, the upcoming edition will center on artists’ responses to 9-11. Besides providing international exposure at the event, there will also be a book, film and CD made about the exhibition. Professor Boggs recently received partial funding to attend the event from the Kahn Argo Company and is currently making preparations to present The Halo Project at the upcoming Biennial.
The Halo Project consists of four components. First, Professor Boggs would like a monument placed at Ground Zero. The design of the monument is two towers connected by a halo. The monument will be approximately the size of the Statue of Liberty. The second component is to have replicas of this monument placed in communities throughout the United States and around the world. The third component consists of individual luminaries, one for each of the 2823 victims, placed around the footprints of the towers. The luminaries will stand approximately 2′ tall and a victim’s name will be inscribed on each one. Professor Boggs is currently working with the Spartanburg branch of Progress Lighting Corporation to design the luminaries. Finally, identical luminaries will be given to the victims’ families to be placed at a location of their choice.